Monday, 27 August 2012

Scrapping of Rural Electrification Agency: Govt. makes U-turn

The Presidency has withdrawn a contentious bill it had earlier sent to the National Assembly seeking to scrap the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). Federal Government had made a bid to scrap the rural electrification agency three years ago owing to alleged widespread corruption. However, Minister of State for Power, Darius Ishaku, said that the withdrawal of the bill would allow the ministry to reactivate the agency which would serve as its vehicle for deepening access to electricity by people in the rural area. Ishaku, who did not state when the bill was withdrawn, also said at the closing session of the launch of the United Nation’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) in Abuja, that the Federal Government had set aside N3 billion to offset the debts owed contractors on projects by REA.
Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, believed the agency could be reformed and used as a vehicle to extend access to electricity by those in rural areas since the private sector might not be interested in playing in the rural sector under the privatization of electricity owing to the poor development of that sector of the market.
The ministry had recommended the scrapping of the agency in the wake of the misappropriation of N5.2 billion intended for the agency that led to the indictment of a former Chairman, House Committee on Power, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, some members of the committee and some REA management staff, including its Managing Director, Mr. Sam Gekpe.

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